Finding the time to actually sit and listen to music – to not be distracted by anything or anyone doesn’t seem to suit younger listeners. Life now seems to be constructed into seconds and quick breaks – TikTok music listeners have an attention span of 10 seconds or less. Where does classical music fit into 2022? Why has this genre of music not become the way of the dinosaur? Because there’s nothing like it. In her new album, Singing The Nocturnes, French pianist Elizabeth Sombart interprets the Nocturnes originally composed by Frederick Chopin. Evocative of the night, Sombart’s work is exquisite.
A student of the piano from the age of seven, Sombart notes (pun intended) on her Facebook page that her goal is “to bring music to the most remote places to people who do not have an easy access to it”. I tried my best to listen to these Nocturnes as if I were completely foreign to music of any kind – that listening to these pieces marked my first ever exposure to classical music. On the second listen, my ears were tuned more into the idea of a seasoned or perhaps even jaded listener. Afterall, writing reviews for a few years can definitely make you feel as though you’re a line worker in a factory. Rinse and repeat. Not so with Sombart. Singing The Nocturnes bridges the gap between hypnotized by music and appreciating its grand artistry.
This is a bit of an odyssey to listen to – from start to finish, expect the 21-song collection to take you nearly two hours. So think of it like falling into your own personal movie. What better way to wind down after an exhausting day than to rejuvenate and invigorated your imagination and senses with tracks like the gorgeous “Nocturnes, Op. 37 No. 1_No. 11 in G Minor”. If this were a pop song on the radio, it would be a ballad. It’s calming, yes, but also has spiraling moments and warm textures. That night’s vibe really felt like a Spring night. A renewal.
In “Nocturnes, Op. 55 No. 1_No. 15 in F Minor” the tempo hits a cobalt tone, a faster, passionate arrangement. It comes closer to the album’s ending, and portrays a last hurrah, if you will. Ever so soft, yet poignant, Sombart left me on the edge of my seat on this particular section. That’s not to say, though, that the entire flow of the album didn’t feel surreal and intriguing. It’s one thing to listen to this song in the background, or even in your earbuds on a walk. It’s another to lay down in the middle of your living room and feel the power of the music through your stereo system.
To fully appreciate these 21 songs is to devote your full attention. I can honestly say that without Sombart’s virtuosity, my candid appreciation for these songs wouldn’t be the same. She’s so well-deserving of all the accolades surely coming her way. My sincere kudos to Singing The Nocturnes.